Who We Are
Established in 2005, Climate Interactive is rooted in the fields of system dynamics modeling and systems thinking. Through this lens, and in partnership with the MIT Sloan Sustainability Initiative, we create and share tools that help people see connections and drive effective and equitable climate action.
Climate Interactive hosts a team of system dynamics modelers who create user-friendly climate simulators—spanning topics of international policy, cutting-edge climate solutions, energy dynamics, climate justice, food systems, and more. We then amplify the insights from these tools through interactive workshops, role-playing games, and events led by our team and an international network of trained facilitators.
From start to finish, Climate Interactive’s aim is to synthesize technical climate science into accessible mediums, and harness the power of experiential learning to engage and inform people around high-leverage, equitable climate solutions.
Vision: Climate Interactive envisions a thriving world, where greenhouse gas emissions are falling rapidly.
Mission: Climate Interactive creates and shares tools that drive effective and equitable climate action.
HISTORY OF CLIMATE INTERACTIVE
In 2010, Andrew Jones and Dr. Elizabeth Sawin co-founded Climate Interactive as an independent non-profit organization. However, their journey together began years before under the mentorship of Dr. Donella Meadows at the Sustainability Institute—an institution which focused on fostering transitions to sustainable systems at all levels of society, from local to global.
Both MIT trained system dynamics modelers, Dr. Elizabeth Sawin and Andrew Jones both shared a reverence for the field of system dynamics simulation modeling, addressing complex global challenges, and the life work of Meadows, their long-term mentor.
From these commonalities a new project was born: Climate Interactive. When it began in 2005 as a project of the Sustainability Institute, Climate Interactive consisted of only six team members. This small but passionate team used interdisciplinary approaches to model complex systems related to climate change, create experiential learning simulations, and develop frameworks for equitable climate action. This last element of Climate Interactive’s work has evolved into the projects now being led by Dr. Sawin at a separate organization, the Multisolving Institute, which launched in February of 2022.
In 2009, Climate Interactive was the first scientific team to add up all the climate pledges countries had made to the United Nations leading up to the COP 15 Copenhagen climate negotiations. This analysis, which became known as the Climate Scoreboard, landed our work in the New York Times and in the meeting rooms of the world’s top decision-makers over the next several years.
When we created our first simulation models, we took a different approach than many in the climate modeling field: we strived for our tools to be publicly accessible so they could be used interactively during events. One of our earliest models was C-ROADS—an interactive global greenhouse gas emissions simulator—was based on research originally conducted in the mid 1990s at MIT by Dr. Tom Fiddaman, now of Ventana Systems. C-ROADS has been used all over the world, from grassroots movements to high-level negotiations. In 2015 Obama’s Science Advisor, John Holdren, used it to deliver the bilateral U.S.-China climate accord that led to the Paris Agreement. Following this work, Climate Interactive was named the environmental and energy think-tank of the year by Prospect Magazine in 2017.
In 2019, we released one of our largest projects to date, the En-ROADS Climate Solutions Simulator. Co-developed with MIT, this global simulator allowed users to interact with cross-sector climate solutions like never before, boasting an interactive and accessible interface. Since its release, En-ROADS has been used with dozens of world leaders, in top-tier university curriculums, in the boardrooms of Fortune 500 companies, and by leaders from prominent international NGO’s.
Over time, we have developed ways for people to engage with our tools and resources to enable better decision-making around climate change. This has led to the development of interactive experiences such as the World Climate Simulation game, the En-ROADS Climate Workshop, and the Climate Action Simulation game that have been shown to increase people’s motivation to take action. In addition, in 2020, the En-ROADS Climate Ambassador program was born as a way to recognize and support our most dedicated facilitators of these experiences. Our team works closely with our Ambassadors to grow our network, run international events, and deliver crucial insights to decision-makers.